Three things you should know before writing about Josh Duggar

With the latest round of Josh Duggar scandals, it’s time to address a few things that have been floating around, both in the religious blogosphere and tabloid and mainstream media. If you’re going to write about the Duggars, here are some things you need to know. Before I begin with my list though, I want to say one other thing. If you defended Josh Duggar the child molester I don’t even want to hear your condemnation of Josh Dugger the adulterer. Consensual sex between two adults isn’t in the same universe as child sexual assault. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to reexamine their life. With that said, here are some things you need to understand if you’re going to write about Josh Duggar. 1. Fundamentalist ≠ Quiverfull It’s tempting to conflate the two concepts, especially since those who were involved in the latter insist that they’re the only true fundamentalists, but they’re not the same thing. Fundamentalism is, at its core, a theological position dating to the formulation of the Five Fundamentals of Christian doctrine and the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy of the early 20th century. The five fundamentals were the core doctrinal beliefs that those who came to be called “fundamentalists” believed were central to orthodox Christian doctrine. Those fundamentals were the inspiration of scripture by the Holy Spirit and Biblical inerrancy, belief in the virgin birth of Christ, that Christ’s death was an atonement for sin, the bodily resurrection, and that Christ’s miracles happened. Pretty much every Evangelical church in America believes in those Five Fundamentals, though most of those churches would eschew the “fundamentalist” label because of the additional baggage the term has taken on over the years. It’s entirely possible to believe in the Five Fundamentals and still believe in women’s equality, marriage equality, evolution, and left-wing politics.[…]

Read more

A Recipe for Disaster

Sophie Anna Platt wrote the following piece in response to Jim Bob Duggar’s quote from Wednesday’s interview on The Kelly File. Sophie is a homeschool alumna who grew up in a conservative Christian homeschooling family with many of the same teachings as the Duggars. She’s given me permission to republish her thoughts here. (Also by Sophie: Which one of you have we wronged?) Nooo… Really? And not once did it occur to you that maybe the way you and these other people were raising your children had ANYTHING at all to do with it? Oh, wait, you were too busy becoming the poster family for that cult (so you could get rich off your gazillion kids instead of having to think about being responsible parents who have to plan on feeding the children they pop out) to be bothered to use your brain to think about becoming responsible parents. It is a recipe for disaster, and it goes something like this: 5 cups of teaching everyone that women belong to men They are born their father’s property, and are given as a gift to whomever their father sees as worthy. Should they at any time become free humans, they must immediately seek to become the property of whatever man is available or risk living in sin and going to hell. Usually their brothers are the first choice presented as an authority figure – particularly the oldest son of the family. 3 cups of girl’s bodies don’t belong to themselves It pairs well with the previous ingredient, but it adds some thoughts. Most notably are the ideas that a woman has to have sex with her husband anytime he wants to. Even as a daughter she must not leave the house without her father’s permission (even if she is an adult).[…]

Read more

Christian artist Steve Taylor called out Bill Gothard…30 years ago

The music hasn’t worn well with time (so very ‘80s), and this isn’t one of Taylor’s better songs, but it’s all there. The chain of command, the seminar notebooks, the umbrella of authority, all of it. So next time people try to play dumb about how Bill Gothard was just some fringe figure that nobody in mainstream evangelical Christianity had ever really heard of, here we have one of the most important figures in Christian music calling the whole thing out. In 1985.  No wonder Steve Taylor was one of my favorite artists when I was a teenager. He’s one of the only people in American evangelicalism who have consistently called out the problems within American evangelical Christianity. We need more of that. I’ve posted the lyrics after the jump. I Manipulate Does your soul crave center stage?Have you heard about the latest rage?Read your Bible by lightning flashGet ordained at the thunder crash Build a kingdom with a cattle prodTell the masses it’s a message from GodWhere the innocent congregateI manipulate Take your notebooks, turn with meTo the chapter on authorityDo you top the chain of commandRule your family with an iron hand I dispense little pills of powerFrom my hideaway ivory towerFrom the cover of heaven’s gateI manipulate Now it’s time to fill in the spaceWhere we talk about a woman’s placeDo you want to build a happy home?Have you sacrificed a mind of your own? ‘Cause a good wife learns to cowerUnderneath the umbrella of powerFrom the cover of heaven’s gateI manipulate Yes, I know that parableThat’s the story of the prodigalIf you question what I’m teaching youYou rebel against the Father too If he loved him why’d he let him go?Well, I guess I don’t really knowBut I see it’s getting late

Read more

I Don’t Forgive Josh Duggar

Posts keep showing up in my Facebook newsfeed saying that as Christians we should forgive Josh Duggar. No. We should not forgive Josh Duggar because we cannot forgive him. Josh Duggar did nothing to any of us. It’s not our place to decide whether to forgive or not because you can’t forgive someone if you’re not the person they wronged. As my friend Darcy points out, forgiveness in the Judeo-Christian tradition was originally centered around the concept of debt being owed to someone. Forgiveness means no longer pursuing the debt that you are rightfully owed. That you’re not going to demand retribution for the wrongs against you. I don’t forgive Josh Duggar because Josh didn’t wrong me, there is no debt he owes me that I can forgive. Only the person who was wronged can offer forgiveness, and it’s not our business to tell a victim that they should forgive. Our job is to support victims and to seek justice. Further, let me remind you that contrary to what we’re being told, we don’t know whether his victims have forgiven him or dealt with the sexual assaults. In the ATI subculture, forgiveness is forced. You have no other option than to forgive because otherwise you’ve created strongholds in your life, you’ve allowed the root of bitterness to take hold, and now you’ve opened yourself up to Satan’s works. Talking about forgiveness in the context of Bill Gothard and ATI is virtually meaningless. Even if Josh Duggar is truly repentant and this isn’t just damage control to make it all go away, forgiveness by God does not erase earthly punishments and the consequences of one’s actions. Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, but the thief still died that day. Jailhouse conversions don’t mean murderers can walk free. A repentant thief[…]

Read more

Josh Duggar says he’s sorry. So what?

Josh Duggar is doing damage control. He can’t stop the truth that he’s a serial child molester from getting out, the police reports made sure of that. What he can do is change the focus. Josh doesn’t want you talking about his victims, he doesn’t want you focusing on the five prepubescent children he molested. No, he wants you to talk about how sorry he is. Don’t let him change the focus. Josh Duggar’s apology is not the story. Josh can apologize until he’s blue in the face, but that’s never going to undo the trauma that he put his victims through. Josh, and Jim Bob and Michelle alongside him, have shifted the burden onto the victims, painting Josh as a child who made mistakes, apologized and should be forgiven. They’ve tried to shift the narrative so that it’s just a short hop to viewing Josh as the victim. This isn’t penitence, it’s not repentance, it’s what child molesters do. Rewrite the narrative so that in the end the audience feels sorry for them and forgets about their victims. We’re supposed to give Josh points for confessing and resigning so quickly, while feeling sorry for him that he’s now unemployed with three children and a fourth on the way. Except that Josh didn’t confess quickly, he hid this for over a dozen years, hid it while he became a television star, hid it while he became a rising star in the religious right, hid it while the organization he headed repeatedly attacked LGBT people as child molesters. Josh Duggar would have never become the household name he is if he and his parents hadn’t hidden the secret that he is a serial child molester. Of course he’s going to release a statement apologizing once the police report is all over[…]

Read more

#DefendTheDuggars (Sort of)

I’ve said it before on social media and I’ll say it again here. The mocking of Duggar children is not something I can get behind. Criticize the Duggar parents for what they’re doing to their children, criticize Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh for their anti-LGBT activism, that’s fair game. Mocking the kids isn’t. Kids like the Duggars, who aren’t being given a real education (you don’t get a real education from ATI Wisdom Booklets), who aren’t allowed college, and who aren’t even allowed a single private conversation with someone of the opposite sex until they’re married, are the ones I’m trying to help.  TLC may put a pretty face on it, but make no mistake, the Duggars are part of a high-control, authoritarian cult. ATI creates an alternate reality, complete with their own version of history and science, and a theology that seems, on the surface, to be orthodox Christianity but is anything but. ATI even redefines language, Scientology-style. This is but one small example of the way that ATI indoctrinates its members, but check out their definitions of the character qualities that Bill Gothard decided were important. I’ve included a few of those character qualities below. Notice how most of those definitions are nothing like the dictionary definitions of those words? When I was a kid some ATI friends gave us the “Character Clues“ game, which was supposed to teach you those traits by having you match traits to definitions. Apart from being the world’s most boring game, we gave up on it quickly because the whole thing was redefining words. We could give up on the game because learning Gothard-approved definitions of words was dull, but for people who are part of the ATI cult, learning an entirely new vocabulary is a step in the cult indoctrination process.[…]

Read more

Michelle Duggar’s anti-trans* robocalls and #DuggarHypocrisy

I haven’t really written about the Duggar family before because I feel for their kids still at home. They had no say about being thrust into the national spotlight, and invariably criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle turns into snark about the kids, and I don’t want that. Before I go any farther, let me say that any attacks on the Duggar children in the comments will be deleted. They didn’t ask for this, and with the exception of Josh, who has chosen to become a professional activist with hate group FRC Action, they need to be off limits. That aside, the reason I’ve broken my self-imposed “No Duggars” rule is because of Michelle Duggar’s robocalls against Fayetteville, AR’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. I’ve embedded the audio Jeremy Hooper provided on GoodAsYou after the cut. Be warned, it’s a rather disturbing anti-trans diatribe about how transwomen are men who are trying to be predatory towards women and children. In response to this virulent attack on trans* people and their identities, a group of former homeschool kids has created the hashtag #DuggarHypocrisy.  Here’s why. While Michelle Duggar pretends to be concerned about sexual predators targeting women and children, Michelle and Jim Bob have remained silent as both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips’ sexually predatory behavior was exposed. Shaney Lee has detailed the Duggar’s ties to Bill Gothard and their promotion of Gothard’s material, it’s an important read. Micah Murray’s post on the Duggars and Gothard is also more than sufficient to demonstrate the close ties the Duggars have with Gothard. As for the Duggars and Doug Phillips, in 2010, Michelle received the “Mother of the Year“ award from Doug Phillps. As documented by the Christian Post, before Vision Forum went under they sold DVD’s such as “Tea with Michelle Duggar,” a Vision Forum-produced video[…]

Read more